Maternal monologues: a window on rural fertility

By Laura Keil

Prejudice, hostility, fear, loneliness and geographical barriers… those were just some of the inner and outer conflicts in a Wishbone Theatre production last week that tackled the issues of rural birthing and fertility.

A Womb with a View was billed as a set of maternal monologues but the show was much more than people reading scripts: the readings were dramatic interpretations of real events that happened to the local women who wrote them. The authors remained anonymous, but their stories did not; for this we are richer and more compassionate. These are stories where the miracle of birth lives alongside the mundane cruelties of hospitals and orderlies; where the longing for a child becomes the grieving for lost children; and where the pressures of parenthood sometimes become too much.

All the stories were written by women of the Robson Valley and span from the 1940s to present times. They are intimate and no doubt took bravery on the part of the women who wrote them (each story was read by a Wishbone actor, not the author herself).

Miwa Hiroe, who spearheaded and directed the show, shared facts and stats between the monologues. Hiroe said it was her aim to raise awareness of some of the hurdles particular to rural birthing and fertility – hurdles that are rarely discussed and impact mother, child and family.

If you missed the show, it was filmed by VCTV and will soon be available on Channel 7 or YouTube.

Money raised at the event will be donated to Robson Valley Community Services for implementing maternal health care programs in the Robson Valley (last year Northern Health cut local prenatal classes).

The stories were read by Sally Buck, Miwa Hiroe, Catherine Hiroe, Jasmine Hoetjes, Sharon Stearns, and Monica Zieper. The show was produced by Wishbone Theatre. Technical support was supplied by Dan Lawless and Ingrid Stengler.

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